28 November, 1995

November 28, 1995

Location: 63 09 South Latitude x 138 34 West Longitude. 460 miles for the Mid Pacific Ridge.


We experienced a smorgasbord of weather today. It began with a splendid clear sunrise, calm winds, and smooth seas. A silver crescent of moon hung like a single ornament on the morning sky. The sun was a ruby set afire on the horizon.

The seas were the first to change as our course brought us once again into the ice. The winds had blowen the brash ice out from the coast to the open sea. Our course was changed to due north to avoid the ice.

We cleared what we thought was the worst of the ice problem by early morning, and reestablished our westerly great circle route. By the end of my watch we were in open water, traveling at about 11 knots. By the time I awoke at 2:00 PM, we were again in the ice, but the sun had vacated us once more. A strong wind produced large swells.

We would play hide and seek with the ice all day. Large patches of brash ice miles across had been blown from the coast randomly along our route. The ice was like a cobble stone covering on the waves. Each piece fit neatly against the next, as if the pattern had been preplanned. As the swells moved, the way in front of the ship looked like a moving walkway atop a white rolling meadow.

By dinner, brief periods of snow made the wind a visible menace. We again were beyond the edge of the ice, and the wind was free to drive the water into large rollers that rocked the ship in every direction. By late evening the sky and sea were connected by a thin haze. The weather forecast calls for stronger winds and a brief period of storms for tomorrow. We will be securing everything down tonight with the chance for a rough ride ahead.

Interesting data continues to arrive daily as we proceed with our sonar mapping of the sea floor. Today was a great day for unusual features on the sea floor. Up from the flat basin projected parallel ridges and sea mounts that had never before been located. Just as quickly as the formations appeared, the sea floor returned to a flat deserted plain.

It is hard to convey the excitement that finding these new bits of data can create on the ship. It seems that no one is immune to the contagiousness of the process of discovery. We listen to the plotter waiting for the familiar pattern of groans and bangs that indicate that a feature has been located on the sea floor. Many gather by the plotter, waiting in line to be the first to see the sea floor exhibit that the forces of nature have created.

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